Amateur radio group practices for emergency

ONALASKA, Wis. — Ham radio operators spent their Sunday practicing what they would do in case of an emergency.

They gathered in the parking ramp at the Gundersen Clinic in Onalaska to go through emergency response drills.

The hams also compete with other amateur radio operators across the nation to see who can make the most contacts in 24 hours.

It’s all part of the “American Radio Relay League” field day.

The ham radios work on a number of channels which make them great in emergencies when other technologies go out.


Radio operators said it’s all about experimenting.

“The fact that we have so many bands that we can bounce signals off satellite hams, bounce off the moon, there’s so many different areas. The unique thing about the hobby is it’s a federally licensed hobby where we’re encouraged to experiment,” said Field Day committee chairman Craig Goldbeck.

One 14-year-old girl, Brittany Wiese was at the field day and said her dad helped peak her interest in ham radios.

She said it’s fun to talk to people all over the world and is happy she knows how to use one in case of an emergency.

“There are lots of things that the radios can help out with, but the most important is in case something happens and there’s nothing else to do and no one knows how to use one except for you. It’s really helpful to know there’s something there that you can actually save yourself with,” said Wiese.

The club meets every week in La Crosse.

If you’re interested in attending one of the monthly visits you can visit their website at